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Contents

  1. The idea of humanity in a global era - Bruce Mazlish - Google книги
  2. The Age of Humans: Evolutionary Perspectives on the Anthropocene
  3. Macquarie Law Journal
  4. Daily Noon Briefing

Spiegel, Johns Hopkins University; President, American Historical Association "A noted historian of ideas, Bruce Mazlish has been a leader in establishing global history as a distinctive field of study. In this essay, he combines those interests with a life-time of scholarship on modern history to address a remarkable array of current concerns. All are placed in the context of globalization, which Mazlish sees as a change in the way human beings view each other.

These personal reflections become, as he notes in passing, "a moral exhortation;" and they will surprise and stimulate his readers.

The idea of humanity in a global era - Bruce Mazlish - Google книги

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Home Contact us Help Free delivery worldwide. Free delivery worldwide. Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Description The result of a lifetime of research and contemplation on global phenomena, this book explores the idea of humanity in the modern age of globalization. Tracking the idea in the historical, philosophical, legal, and political realms, this is a concise and illuminating look at a concept that has defined the twentieth century.

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The Age of Humans: Evolutionary Perspectives on the Anthropocene

Other books in this series. Transnationalism in the Prussian East Mark Tilse. Add to basket. Transnational Philanthropy Thomas Adam. Red Gas Per Hogselius. But we should not leap too quickly into renovation. This system has done far less to deliver human security and dignity than we imagine — in some ways, it has been a colossal failure — and there are good reasons why it is ageing so much more quickly than the empires it replaced. Even if we wanted to restore what we once had, that moment is gone. National governments possessed actual powers to manage modern economic and ideological energies, and to turn them towards human — sometimes almost utopian — ends.

But that era is over. After so many decades of globalisation, economics and information have successfully grown beyond the authority of national governments. Today, the distribution of planetary wealth and resources is largely uncontested by any political mechanism. But to acknowledge this is to acknowledge the end of politics itself. And if we continue to think the administrative system we inherited from our ancestors allows for no innovation, we condemn ourselves to a long period of dwindling political and moral hope.


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Half a century has been spent building the global system on which we all now depend, and it is here to stay. Without political innovation, global capital and technology will rule us without any kind of democratic consultation, as naturally and indubitably as the rising oceans. If we wish to rediscover a sense of political purpose in our era of global finance, big data, mass migration and ecological upheaval, we have to imagine political forms capable of operating at that same scale. The current political system must be supplemented with global financial regulations, certainly, and probably transnational political mechanisms, too.

That is how we will complete this globalisation of ours, which today stands dangerously unfinished. Its economic and technological systems are dazzling indeed, but in order for it to serve the human community, it must be subordinated to an equally spectacular political infrastructure, which we have not even begun to conceive. It will be objected, inevitably, that any alternative to the nation-state system is a utopian impossibility.

But even the technological accomplishments of the last few decades seemed implausible before they arrived, and there are good reasons to be suspicious of those incumbent authorities who tell us that human beings are incapable of similar grandeur in the political realm. In fact, there have been many moments in history when politics was suddenly expanded to a new, previously inconceivable scale — including the creation of the nation state itself.

And — as is becoming clearer every day — the real delusion is the belief that things can carry on as they are.

Macquarie Law Journal

The first step will be ceasing to pretend that there is no alternative. So let us begin by considering the scale of the current crisis. L et us start with the west. Europe, of course, invented the nation state: the principle of territorial sovereignty was agreed at the Treaty of Westphalia in The treaty made large-scale conquest difficult within the continent; instead, European nations expanded into the rest of the world.

The dividends of colonial plunder were converted, back home, into strong states with powerful bureaucracies and democratic polities — the template for modern European life. By the end of 19th century, European nations had acquired uniform attributes still familiar today — in particular, a set of fiercely enforced state monopolies defence, taxation and law, among others , which gave governments substantial mastery of the national destiny.

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In return, a moral promise was made to all: the development, spiritual and material, of citizen and nation alike. Spectacular state-run projects in the fields of education, healthcare, welfare and culture arose to substantiate this promise. The withdrawal of this moral promise over the past four decades has been a shattering metaphysical event in the west, and one that has left populations rummaging around for new things to believe in.

Daily Noon Briefing

For the promise was a major event in the evolution of the western psyche. It was part of a profound theological reorganisation: the French Revolution dethroned not only the monarch, but also God, whose superlative attributes — omniscience and omnipotence — were now absorbed into the institutions of the state itself. During the period of decolonisation that followed the second world war, the European nation-state structure was exported everywhere.

But westerners still felt its moral promise with an intensity peculiar to themselves — more so than ever, in fact, after the creation of the welfare state and decades of unprecedented postwar growth. Nostalgia for that golden age of the nation state continues to distort western political debate to this day, but it was built on an improbable coincidence of conditions that will never recur. Very significant was the structure of the postwar state itself, which possessed a historically unique level of control over the domestic economy. Capital could not flow unchecked across borders and foreign currency speculation was negligible compared to today.

Governments, in other words, had substantial control over money flows, and if they spoke of changing things, it was because they actually could. The fact that capital was captive meant they Governments could impose historic rates of taxation, which, in an era of record economic growth, allowed them to channel unprecedented energies into national development. For a few decades, state power was monumental — almost divine, indeed — and it created the most secure and equal capitalist societies ever known.

The destruction of state authority over capital has of course been the explicit objective of the financial revolution that defines our present era. As a result, states have been forced to shed social commitments in order to reinvent themselves as custodians of the market. This has drastically diminished national political authority in both real and symbolic ways. The picture is the same all over the west: the wealth of the richest continues to skyrocket, while post-crisis austerity cripples the social-democratic welfare state.

We can all see the growing fury at governments that refuse to fulfil their old moral promise — but it is most probable that they no longer can. Western governments possess nothing like their previous command over national economic life, and if they continue to promise fundamental change, it is now at the level of PR and wish fulfilment.

There is every reason to believe that the next stage of the techno-financial revolution will be even more disastrous for national political authority. This will arise as the natural continuation of existing technological processes, which promise new, algorithmic kinds of governance to further undermine the political variety. Big data companies Google, Facebook etc have already assumed many functions previously associated with the state, from cartography to surveillance.

Now they are the primary gatekeepers of social reality: membership of these systems is a new, corporate, de-territorialised form of citizenship, antagonistic at every level to the national kind. And, as the growth of digital currencies shows, new technologies will emerge to replace the other fundamental functions of the nation state. The libertarian dream — whereby antique bureaucracies succumb to pristine hi-tech corporate systems, which then take over the management of all life and resources — is a more likely vision for the future than any fantasy of a return to social democracy.


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But in the west, it feels like a terrifying return to primitive vulnerability. It is an epochal upheaval, which leaves western populations shattered and bereft. There are outbreaks of irrational rage, especially against immigrants, the appointed scapegoats for much deeper forms of national contamination.

The idea of the western nation as a universal home collapses, and transnational tribal identities grow up as a refuge: white supremacists and radical Islamists alike take up arms against contamination and corruption. The stakes could not be higher. So it is easy to see why western governments are so desperate to prove what everyone doubts: that they are still in control. The era of globalisation has seen consistent attempts by US presidents to enhance the authority of the executive, but they are never enough.

Citizens who have nothing are persuaded that they have a lot. These strategies are ugly, but they cannot simply be blamed on a few bad actors. The predicament is this: political authority is running on empty, and leaders are unable to deliver meaningful material change. But let us not imagine that these strategies will quickly break down under their own deceptions as moderation magically comes back into fashion.